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Inspiring Stories from San Diego's Eastern Region

WHAT I’VE LEARNED AS A SURVIVOR OF A 7.5 EARTHQUAKE

 Travels in time to Bucuresti, Romania

 
By Iolanda Scripca

December 29, 2011 (San Diego’s East County)--After a warm visit with my grown son, I tell him “Good bye !” He hugs me and jumps into his car. We wave back and forth and I still do not go back into the house until the curve fades away his presence.  Life is so precious and, when you think I could have died decades ago, at age sixteen, the  memories of that evening still give me goose bumps. ..My son, Christopher, would have been just an undefined wish of energy wandering in this infinite universe.

 

IN SEARCH OF A MIRACLE


A La Mesa woman seeks an angel investor to buy her home—saving her disabled mother and a recently homeless friend from being thrown out in the streets

By Miriam Raftery
 

December 14, 2011 (La Mesa) –Mary Sweeney needs an angel. Like many Americans, the automotive industry consultant lost her home to foreclosure in the down economy. The lender, IAF Pension Inestments LP in San Diego, has given Sweeney notice to vacate by December 31—along with her wheelchair-bound 83-year-old mother. Her mother’s caretaker, a formerly homeless woman helped by Sweeney also faces the prospect of being on the streets come New Year’s. So do the family’s three dogs and a cat.
 

“I am a Christian and I still believe it may be possible to find an investor to buy our home from the lender and lease or sell it back to me, so Mom can stay here and I can implement the residential care plan I have worked on for two years,” said Sweeney, who purchased the home at 10545 Grandview Drive on Mount Helix for her mother 17 years ago. “She is heartbroken.”

PROJECT WILDLIFE WINS $25,000, MISSION TRAILS $10,000 IN SDG&E ECO AMBASSADOR’S PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD


December 11, 2011 – By just eight votes (15,885 to 15,877), Project Wildlife captured first place in the SDG&E Eco Ambassador’s People’s Choice Award.  Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation, which won second place, will receive a $10,000 grant. 

BROWNIES PITCH IN FOR ARBOR DAY PLANTINGS AT MISSION TRAILS

 
December 11, 2011 (San Diego) --  On Saturday, December 3, the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation held its annual Arbor Day by planting 10 oak trees and 10 shrubs along the Oak Grove Trail. 

 

PCI COMMUNITY HOLIDAY OUTREACH SERVES OVER 200 GUESTS

Global humanitarian organization served over 230 people, including 160 children, with holiday gifts and community health resources

 

December 8, 2011 (San Diego, CA) -- PCI (Project Concern International) and the Strong, Healthy Empowered (SHE) group of PCI volunteers hosted their third annual Santa party and health fair in collaboration with PCI’s California Border Healthy Start (CBHS) Program on December 7, 2011 at the Jacobs Market Creek Plaza.  Other community agencies that participated include Logan Family Health Center at Logan Heights, American Red Cross WIC, La Maestra Family Health Center at National City, and the Family Health Centers at Lemon Grove.

VIEJAS CASINO TEAM MEMBERS AND GUESTS DONATE OVER 3,000 TOYS FOR LOCAL SALVATION ARMY

Photos By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2011 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino Team Members and guests have donated more than 3,000 toys for the Salvation Army serving eastern San Diego and western Imperial Counties.

 

Viejas Casino announced the grand total of 3,231 toys donated this holiday season by team members and guests at the annual Salvation Army Holiday Party and Auction, held last night at the DreamCatcher at Viejas Casino.

 

ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE’S CENTER PARTICIPATES IN GIVEBIG 2011

 The center for adults with developmental disabilities urges supports to give BIG on December 14-15

 
December 7, 2011 (San Diego) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, the non-denominational adult day-training facility for adults with developmental disabilities, is participating in giveBIG 2011. On December 14-15, the public will have an opportunity to make online donations to the non-profit. The total donation amount will be matched by The San Diego Foundation, which strives to make San Diego a better place to live, work and play.

THE CHARLES I. CHENEWETH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES PLANS TO CEASE OPERATIONS AND JOIN HOME OF GUIDING HANDS

 
The mission is to strengthen and enhance services to those with developmental disabilities in San Diego County


December 7, 2011 -- Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), which provides quality services, training, and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and others who will benefit, has announced plans to assume the operations and assets of The Charles I. Cheneweth Foundation (CICF).  

"MEATBALL" THE BEAR FINDS TEMPORARY HAVEN AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

 

 
August 31, 2012 (Alpine)--Earlier this week, the infamous Glendale bear known as "Meatball" returned to the La Cañada Flintridge area near L.A. to scavenge for food and was filmed in at least two locations and seen in a homeowner's swimming pool.
 
In response, the California Fish & Game Department dispatched a game warden to set culvert traps baited with bacon and honey to capture the bear. The compassionate decision was made to re-locate Meatball rather than to euthanize him, which is often the fate of what DFG calls an "habituated" bear - one that's not afraid to enter areas of human habitation.

 

HONESTY PAYS: GOOD SAMARITAN GIVEN MONEY HE FOUND AND TURNED IN TO POLICE

November 29, 2011 (Chula Vista) -- Even in challenging economic times, people do the right thing. On June 30, 2011, a construction worker at Sharp Hospital in Chula Vista found $700 in cash. He brought the money to a hospital staff member, who notified police.

 

STARS VIE TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY AT VIEJAS CELEBRITY SLOT TOURNAMENT MONDAY NOV. 28

November 25, 2011 (Alpine) -- Gretchen Rossi of Bravo's hit reality series "The Real Housewives of Orange County" will join 11 other local celebrities at Viejas Casino on Monday, November 28 in a Celebrity Slot Tournament at Viejas Casino.  100 percent of the winnings from the tournament, which begins at 10:30 a.m., will be donated to the local Salvation Army.

 The list of confirmed celebrities for the slot tournament include sports stars, TV news anchors and more: 

A PURR-FECT THANKSGIVING TALE: TRAPPED KITTEN RESCUED IN EL CAJON

Firefighter who saved kitten will adopt it, if owner not found

Story by Miriam Raftery

Photos by El Cajon Police Captain Jim Redman

November 24, 2011 (El Cajon )—A Thanksgiving day rescue tale--or should we say "tail",  has a happy ending.  El Cajon Firefighters have saved a kitten that became trapped several feet down an old electrical plastic pipe at the corner of Washington and Avocado Avenues in El Cajon.

THANKSGIVING DINNERS SOUGHT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO THE HOMELESS TODAY

 

November 24, 2011 (San Diego)—Do you have an extra meal to spare as a Thanksgiving dinner for a homeless person? 

Jennifer Hughes, a local attorney, is partnering with friends at a local Buddhist temple to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless.  Hughes has offered to arrange pick up of meals before 4 p.m. today to deliver them to those in need. For pickup, call 619-840-7797.  Alternatively, donated food may be delivered to the temple before 5 p.m.

FOOD HANDOUT: LARGEST IN EAST COUNTY

Samoan Independent Pentecostal Church feeds Lemon Grove needy, with help of Mt.Miguel football team.
 
By Bill Pogue
 
November 21, 2011 (Lemon Grove) -- The largest, annual free food distribution in East County occurred on Friday, November 18, was made by the Samoan Independent Pentecostal Church, where they rent church accommodations from the Lemon Grove Lutheran Church at 2055 Skyline Drive. This is the 8th consecutive year that Pastor Ulalei Tausaga, his wife Mai and son Smith, and their congregation performed this feat.

SANTEE COUPLE PICKED FROM DOZENS TO ADOPT $1,000 PUPPY WITH BROKEN LEG

 November 20, 2011 (Santee) -- Parker,  the puppy whose former owner paid $1,000 for her at a pet store only to abandon her a few weeks later when she broke her leg, was adopted into a new home on November 18. The energetic Beagle/Boston Terrier mix pup, marketed by a pet store as a “Boggle,” is recovering from specialized surgery for a broken leg. 

 
Her new owners, a Santee couple, took her home and will provide lots of love and any ongoing care she needs.

LA MESA RESIDENT TO PASS ON 'OUTSTANDING TEEN' TITLE: PAGEANT APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR MISS SAN DIEGO

November 19, 2011 (La Mesa) -- Danamarie McNicholl-Carter is not your average La Mesa teenager.  Besides being an honor student and athlete at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, she spends her spare time playing the piano and volunteering in her community.

WELLS FARGO TEAM MEMBERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PERSONALLY DONATE $545,000 TO LOCAL NONPROFITS

 
November 17, 2011 (San Diego) – Wells Fargo & Company announced today that its team members donated $545,000 to nonprofit organizations and schools in San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties as part of the company’s annual Community Support and United Way Campaign.  All donations were funded personally by team members. This year’s campaign resulted in a 22% percent year-over-year increase in donations from 2010.
 

PROJECT CONCERN INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES GIFTS OF LIFE CATALOG TO SUPPORT GLOBAL PROGRAMS


San Diego-based humanitarian organization launches 2012 gift-giving catalog to promote worldwide health and economic empowerment programs
 
November 17, 2011 (San Diego) -- PCI (Project Concern International) launched its 2012 symbolic gifts catalog, Gifts of Life. The catalog allows the public to give unique gifts that support PCI’s global programs and the people they reach in some of the most impoverished regions of the world.

LA MESA RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS HELEN PUTNAM AWARD – RIDES4NEIGHBORS

 
November 17, 2011 (La Mesa) -- In October, Catherine Hill of the League of California Cities presented the City of La Mesa with a 2011 Helen Putnam Award for the highly successful Rides4Neighbors transportation program. Helen Putnam was active with the League of California Cities. Throughout her life as a mother, teacher, principal, mayor, and county supervisor, she viewed meeting one’s potential as the greatest measure of success.

To the League and to all the cities in California she defined excellence and the highly competitive award named in her honor recognizes excellence in local government projects each year.
 

 

PINE VALLEY TEEN PROMOTED TO THE RANK OF CHIEF PETTY OFFICER IN THE NAVAL SEA CADET CORPS

 November 16, 2011 (El Cajon) – Kaitlin Ortmeier, 16, a Junior at Granite Hills High School, was promoted to NSCC Cadet Chief Petty Officer at a ceremony at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado on November 13. The rank of the Chief Petty Officer or CPO is the highest rank a cadet can earn, and the equivalent of Scouting’s “Eagle” rank.

Naval Sea Cadet Kaitlin Ortmeier, 16 has the anchors of a Chief Petty Officer pinned on her by her grandfather, Frank Ortmeier, who served in the Navy as a Gunner’s Mate from 1958 to 1963.  

MIDDLE CLASS WOMEN JOIN OCCUPY SAN DIEGO

Story by Nadin Abbott

Photos by Nadin Abbott and Jennifer Douglas

November 12, 2011 (San Diego)—Over a hundred women walked from the other side of Third Avenue downtown, pushing wheelbarrow and carrying trash bags filled with supplies such as dry socks. The rain came down hard, soaking them. Many East County women were among the crowd, including a Jamul mother and her son.

They chanted “We are the ninety-nine percent,” and “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” The occupiers peeked out from under plastic tarps, or came out from whatever cover they were allowed by San Diego Police, and cheered. To them, it was a surprise. A few faces, filled with emotion, had tears. View a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcsc5PXsJts

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HONOR VETERANS

 

November 10, 2011 (Spring Valley)--Veterans were remembered with honor on the morning of Wednesday, November 9, as the Mount Miguel High School JROTC held its 22nd Annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony. More than 175 JROTC Cadets participated in the ceremony honoring all military personnel who have served our country throughout history.
  
 

STUDENT WHO HELPED FIRE VICTIMS NOW HEADING OBAMA DESIGN TEAM

 By Ray M. Wong

November 9, 2011 (El Cajon) -- Imagine working for the President of the United States, consulting with him personally and being responsible for the artwork and design of his whole reelection campaign. Josh Higgins doesn’t have to pinch himself awake from the dream. He’s living it.

Higgins studied graphic design at San Diego City College from 1999 to 2002. He has done design work for Fender Guitars, Hewlett Packard and Perry Ellis International. His artwork has helped San Diego County fire victims. Now he’s the Design Director for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.    

LOCAL NON-PROFIT GIVES COMPUTERS TO HELP LOW-INCOME CHILDREN & FAMILIES

By Millicent Arko

November 9, 2011 (San Diego)-- Computers 2 San Diego Kids, known as C2SDK, refurbishes used computers and distributes them to eligible families at little or no cost to the recipients.  If you or your business is upgrading equipment, you can donate your previous models, helping families in need and assisting children to learn literacy skills. 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CLEAN SWEEP” IN LEMON GROVE NOV. 19


November 8, 2011 (Lemon Grove)--A crew of 300 eager volunteers are expected to join with representatives from the Sheriff’s Lemon Grove substation on Saturday, November 19 to clean up the community for the holiday season.  

"We're going to make our downtown sparkle,” said Jim Wiebolt, crime prevention specialist.

13TH ANNUAL SANTEE PANCAKE BREAKFAST FRIDAY, NOV 11 & SATURDAY, NOV 12

 November 6, 2011 (Santee) -- The Santee Firefighters and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department  are sponsoring a the 13th Santee Breakfast in honor of Veterans Day.  All of the proceeds will benefit the Warrior Care Inititive Armed Services YMCA.

Have breakfast at the fire station from  7:00am to 10:30am. 

 

RAMONA CHURCH HOSTS TURKEY DINNER NOV. 6 TO RAISE FUNDS FOR FAMILIES IN NEED

 

November 3, 2011 (Ramona) -- This year’s 31st annual  Ramona United Methodist Church (RUMC) Turkey Dinner will be held on Sunday, November 6 from 12 – 5 p.m. at the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane.  Proceeds will help to feed needy families in our area.

 

EL CAJON SEEKS DONATED ITEMS, CASH TO SEND CARE PACKAGES TO MILITARY OVERSEAS FOR HOLIDAYS

 

November 3, 2011 (El Cajon)—The City of El Cajon’s Special Events Committee needs your support for its drive to collect items for care packages that will be distributed to overseas military members before the holidays. Donations of items and funds are needed before the November 11 deadline.

 

 

 

DISABLED WOMAN, MOTHER NEED HELP: BENEFIT CONCERT THURSDAY NOV. 3


By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2011 (San Diego) – Pam Hoye is a friend one of the most amazing people I’ve met. Severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair, she types by holding a pen in her mouth. She has a beautiful spirit, a bright mind, and relies on in-home services to survive. Now her mother, who has advanced demention, has lost her home to foreclosure. Pam needs help to find another place for her mother to live nearby.

Musician Charlie Imes has organized a fantastic benefit concert this Thursday, November 3 starring Jeff Berkeley of Berkeley Hart, winner of many music awards, and other top talent including “Cactus” Jim Soldi, who has played with Johnny Cash and Ricky Skaggs, Peter Bolland, a San Diego Music Awards winner, and more.

FUNDRAISER SET NOV. 18 FOR 2 ZOOKEEPERS INJURED BY DUI DRIVER IN EL CAJON


October 29, 2011 (El Cajon) – A crash on September 30 at Chase Ave. and Jamacha Rd. in Rancho San Diego has left two men battling major injuries. Josh Zelt remains hospitalized in very serious condition, while Heath Holley was recently released and is beginning his recovery from home, according to the San Diego Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK).
 

The organization will host a fundraising benefit on Friday, November 18, to help the two victims, both San Diego Zoo employees, who were broad-sided by a driver arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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